FA sorry for telling players of Olympic omission 90 minutes before game

The FA has apologised after the organisation was called “thoughtless” for telling several players, including an “in tears” goalkeeper Hannah Hampton, that they were not on the 35-player Team GB squad shortlist for the Tokyo Olympics one and a half hours before kick-off between Birmingham and Everton on Thursday.

A statement from the governing body, that also oversees the Team GB setup, said: “We apologise to the players and clubs concerned, and will also do so personally. The timing of the correspondence was an error but we take full responsibility for the upset this has caused.”

After Everton’s 4-0 Women’s Super League victory over Birmingham at St George’s Park Carla Ward, the Birmingham manager, criticised the decision and said it had made her reconsider starting first-choice goalkeeper Hampton.

Ward said: “Hannah’s made three errors for the goals tonight … an hour and a half before kick-off the FA decided to give her a call and let her know she wasn’t in the Olympic squad.

“The girls are going out to warm-up and she’s in tears. We’re wondering whether to even play her. The timing was absolutely ridiculous. We had a kid, a 20-year-old kid, in floods of tears, and you can see that it’s clearly affected her out there tonight and I think the timing of it is thoughtless.”

Imagining the best-case scenario, that the governing body had innocently forgotten the match was taking place, Ward added: “You’re not going to get it happening before Champions League days or ties for a Man City, but it’s OK to deliver news to players from both sides an hour before kick-off, when it’s Everton v Birmingham.”

Willie Kirk, Everton’s manager, was also critical of the timing, after two of his players were informed they were also not on the shortlist and two were told they were.

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He said: “The communication went out to the players before it went out to the clubs, and I think that’s poor for a start. I think it’s important that, if it’s good news or bad news, the clubs get a heads up so [they] can try and support [the players].

“Certainly, a player finding out that information two hours before kick-off is wrong in my opinion, I think it’s very, very poor. It has affected our players.”

source: theguardian.com